Earlier this year, Swedish broadcaster SVT announced a new rule that, from 2022, all Melodifestivalen entries would need to have at least one female songwriter. But just six months later, SVT has scrapped the rule change.

Melfest producer Karin Gunnarsson told the Swedish broadcaster that although they felt that it was the right moment for the organisation to install such a quota, it would not fix the underlying problem of the low participation of female songwriters.

Karin explained her reasoning:

“A compulsion is perhaps not so inspiring and creative, so we’re going back on it. Our ambition for a more equal Melodifestivalen remains and is something we will continue to work with.”

She denied that the critique of some songwriters on the “one female songwriter per entry” quota was the reason why they decided to scrap it. She said:

“There were those who were very happy and saw it as a step in the right direction. At the same time, it’s a bit controversial to stick out your chin that way. There were also those who did not think it was so good. But we do not back down because of outside opinions.”

As a way forward, Karin announced that they will still try to work on gender inclusivity at the very heart of the Swedish Eurovision preselection. She discussed a plethora of opportunities she sees to connect women with Melodifestivalen:

“For us, it can be about initiating meetings with women who may not have written to Mello before. And try to get better at mediating contacts and putting people together.”

SVT’s efforts to get more female songwriters at Melfest

In 2014, Melodifestivalen introduced a requirement that 20% of the contest songs should have at least one female songwriter. This followed the controversial Melodifestivalen 2013, where only one female singer and two female songwriters made it to the grand final.

The quota was increased to 50% in 2015 and remains at this level today. However, male songwriters still dominate the contest. In this year’s Mello, while female songwriters were behind more than half the entries, 79% of all songwriters that contributed to the songs were men.

The quotas haven’t hurt Melodifestivalen or Sweden’s chances at Eurovision. Måns Zelmerlöw’s winning song “Heroes” was co-written by Linnea Deb, who remains an in-demand songwriter.

What do you think of this rule change? How do you think that Melodifestivalen can become more inclusive? Let us know of the comments down below!

Read all our Sweden Eurovision news here

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Loin dici
2 months ago

It’s stupid, but I get the intention. If they want diversity regarding songwriters, the selection criteria could have been changed to pool more songs with female songwriters. But then, the main problem is coming from the uniformity of songs chosen, which that would need SVT to be a bit more adventurous with their picks.

RavensHeart
RavensHeart
2 months ago

we do not back down because of outside opinions

What a charming woman, I’m sure that’s a really great way for any organisation to run.
Glad to see the back of this pointless quota. If I have written a winning song on my own, why do I then need to give someone else credit they didn’t actually earn just so that I can enter a competition.

Iván el Conquistador
Iván el Conquistador
2 months ago

Where is the point in diversity and inclusion in music if the songs sound all the same?
Melodifestivalen, other NFs and Eurovision don’t need diversity, they need variety! And the same I say about the rest of the entertainment industry.

Erik
Erik
2 months ago

Bc. 50% in the world are women and it has historically not been shown in percentage of songwriters etc

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
2 months ago

The rule didn’t make sense in the first place. It inherently implied that women were not capable of having songs selected based on their own merit. There are plenty of female songwriters in Sweden who have submitted quality songs to Melfest in the past. Forcing songwriting teams to stick a female name on their credits for the sake of quotas isn’t going to encourage genuine submissions from worth contributors.

John
John
2 months ago

What if SVT just form a panel of 50/50 men and women who pick the best songs submitted with out knowing who wrote them. What a novel idea! Best songs win.

Erik
Erik
2 months ago
Reply to  John

Your solution suggests that structural discrimination does not exist. Is this your solution to every aspect of inequality. Just let people chose the white guy, then the race issue is solved?

Denis
Denis
2 months ago

I sort of see what they wished to achieve with the rule but it never turned out good. i think to address the problem SVT should just reach out to women and minority writers. Cause SVT has a genuine problem with diversity and having more diverse crew in Sweden’s biggest show would be a step forward. Yes it’s nice to have latin sounds but there is so much more than that..

Erasmus
Erasmus
2 months ago
Reply to  Denis

I really don’t think SVT has a problem with diversity. Singers, hosts and dancers at Melfest are always of different races, sexualities, sexes and ages and so on… where is the lack of it? and considering Sweden is still mostly filled with Swedish people (around 85%) they always have more than 15% of people who are not of Swedish descent/roots. there’s only need to have diversity in songwriters, and not to have more female ones, but to have actually different people with different genres.

Denis
Denis
2 months ago
Reply to  Erasmus

Hmm, having more females is in a way also being diverse. Especially if they are women of colour or minority. I do think they struggle with that, SVT seem to think we have latin sounds, and that’s enough. Yet they have a schlager or dansband type of song in every semi final. Is that diversity?

Colin
Colin
2 months ago
Reply to  Denis

Isn’t it interesting how we tend to implement the quotas of diversity only when it comes to Northwestern industry. Mediterranean nations often use national languages and traditional instrumentals, yet not many people are complaining. Remember that, for instance, sending another vioin-heavy ballad or pop/folk uptempo is just as mundane for the Balkans as schlager is for Sweden.

Denis
Denis
2 months ago
Reply to  Colin

Well yes, but those countries don’t have diversity in the same way do thy? Most Balkan countries are not diverse, therefore they send what they know. It would be fine if they send random stuff like house-music,rap or heavy metal but they don’t.

Una
Una
2 months ago
Reply to  Denis

I understand that SVT selects songs for the wider audiences broken down according to ages and gender. So the schlager or dansband type of song would be to satisfy certain audiences that like that kind of music. And they also have acts that are older and younger and whatnot so from that point of view SVT is doing great but they have a larger pool of songs to choose from in the first place. And songs that are tailor-made for Mello/Eurovision enty. Unlike countries that struggle with a selection of 5-6 songs.

Robyn Gallagher
Admin
2 months ago

I’d like to see them do something like have a mentoring scheme for upcoming female songwriters. Like maybe hold a songwriting camp where newcomers get to work alongside pros. Melodifestivalen always seems to be about nurturing upcoming talent with singers – they should do similar for songwriters!

Frisian esc
Frisian esc
2 months ago

Great idea! I do think it has to do with networking. We see names like linnea deb etc. A lot because they are like mello veterans and they know the ins and outs of who to team up with for songwriting and start preparing for next edition right after the winner of the year is crowned.

It’s similar to how the most succesfull lawyers, doctors, ministers you hear about were often part of the same student associations and circles in their student time.

Erasmus
Erasmus
2 months ago

Great, I don’t know a single person who thought this was a great idea, except Karin and some other far liberals. I really doubt male composers in Sweden exclude female songwriters purposely – it’s just how it is, literally nothing to do with sexism and I hate it when people see sexism everywhere. But I’m glad they see now that the rule was stupid

Last edited 2 months ago by Erasmus
123
123
2 months ago

Great…It’s important to have equal opportunities for everyone, but forcing equality of outcome is ridiculous and it will never work. Obviously Sweden has more male authors who are interested in Melfest and they are obviously (on average) better at writing songs for that specific festival, and that’s ok as long as nobody is being discriminated against…And it’s Sweden so I doubt anyone is.

Donkey
Donkey
2 months ago

It was a dumb rule on my opinion. Glad that it’s gone. Gender isn’t what makes a song good or bad, it is the actual songwriting skills.

Last edited 2 months ago by Donkey
Jonas
Jonas
2 months ago
Reply to  Donkey

Nobody ever argued that gender is what makes a song good or bad – you have misunderstood the whole point.

Una
Una
2 months ago

A young woman is scrapped from Belgium. Mello scraps the quota for women (L may still make it though) and makes some cold and cruel and illogical comment without any foundation or proposing meanigful solutions in plural. Third country I will not be supporting next year. Eurovision isn’t merely a song contest. It’s made by people for people notwithstanding the fab technology that Ola M. mentioned in his interview with Jan. Technology goes ahead. People go backwards.

Leo
Leo
2 months ago
Reply to  Una

If you keep being negative like that, there won’t be any country left to support in May!

Una
Una
2 months ago
Reply to  Leo

No worries, I am embracing the positive 🙂 Plenty of countries left – some should or will just do something good or even great. I can’t wait 🙂

Frisian esc
Frisian esc
2 months ago
Reply to  Una

The only thing that’s illogical was this crappy rule to begin with. If i’m a solo male songwriter with inspiration for some awesome lyrics, I need to find a woman first to forcefully help with the song? That’s just weird.

Jonas
Jonas
2 months ago
Reply to  Frisian esc

No…you don’t, your song could just go into the other 50%. Pay attention, please. According to current rules, that is.

Last edited 2 months ago by Jonas
Frisian esc
Frisian esc
2 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

This article is all about the scrapped 2022 rule though. My words were ‘the only thing that’s illogical was this …rule to begin with’. How am i the one not paying attention?

Jonas
Jonas
2 months ago
Reply to  Frisian esc

Well, right…I normally take “to begin with” as meaning, y’know, the beginning. 2014. Anyway, my bad.

Una
Una
2 months ago
Reply to  Frisian esc

I understand you 100%. But this rule was made with the bigger picture in mind. It looks like it addressed inequalities that unfortunately affect women writers by promoting their participation. Don’t put the rule out in the first place and go back on it. Women deserve more than some fancy word salad. I do not wish to talk about this further because the lack of understanding for women is quite heartbreaking and the topic is way too big to be addressed here. But I can appreciate the thinking that the two wonderful female wiwibloggers put through in their comments above… Read more »

Jonas
Jonas
2 months ago
Reply to  Una

Does the 50% rule satisfy you? It’s not really clear if that will still apply. I hope so.

Una
Una
2 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

Jag vil inte prata om det? Det är för sent 🙁

Last edited 2 months ago by Una